Haitian Witch Doctor Meets Lorain Couple
When Greg and Bobby Ball fearlessly penetrate the darkness of one of the poorest countries in the world the result is unexpected.
by Kirk Rattray
In America, Halloween is celebrated as a harmless indulgence of all things dark and scary. But in a country only four hours from here a stranglehold of darkness, despair and death chokes the land. Yet even there, the Gospel of Jesus Christ penetrates that darkness with light, hope and life. One Lorain, Ohio couple is proficient in ministry both here and in that other world abroad.
||Former witch doctor, Simet Messenger, Greg Ball, Fresh Fire Youth Minister in Lorain, OH; Haitian Pastor Jackson
Greg and Bobbie Ball lead a thriving youth ministry at the Church on the North Coast in Lorain, Ohio. This exuberant couple is equally passionate about their ministry to Haiti, the poorest country in The Western Hemisphere. With 80% of the population living n poverty, the opportunity for sharing the Gospel of Jesus abounds - as their most recent ministry trips confirm.
Greg and Bobbie have ministered in Haiti for almost ten years, and in detailing the poverty there Greg muses that "It's still a mystery how those people live". Villages are so small they are named "81 or "87", their distance in kilometers from the capital city of Port au Prince. The ministry team draws villagers by performing skits, showing movies or playing worship songs. A ministry tenet is that "If you don't have Jesus, you don't have life", a message so simple yet profound that even witch doctors get saved.
Haiti is so politically corrupt that the United States has no embassy there. Voodoo reigns as the favorite religion, and witch doctors serve as the village priest, doctor and mayor. A witch doctor's house is distinct from common huts in two ways - it is built higher in the mountains (to achieve power from Satan), and "they fly flags in the trees", denoting successful witchcraft spells. In 1995, Greg and Bobbie ministered to a witch doctor named Sanu. They even "showed the Jesus video on his voodoo hut". The power of the Word softened the heart of this village luminary when Sanu proclaimed "I must have this Jesus".
Regretfully, Sanu failed to retrieve and burn his voodoo paraphernalia (Acts 19), so the occultic grip over the village was not dispelled. Additionally, the assistant witch doctor, Johnu, incensed by God's presence, screamed at Greg "One day, this boy (his son) will be the next witch doctor". To which Greg replied, "One day, my son (Jordan) will be the next preacher that's going to come to your village and win your son to Christ". Johnu's involvement with voodoo culminated with his murdering another man. He fled the village, but later repented and gave his life to Christ.
Last year, Greg and Bobbie ministered to Simet, the current witch doctor of village 81. As a teenager, Simet attended a Bible school, but dedicated his life to Satan 17 years ago, after his wife entered an adulterous relationship. After assuring Simet that "man let him down, but Jesus would never let him down", Greg was emboldened by the Holy Spirit to rail against Simet's pride and greed, "the same things we deal with in the United States". After a remarkable conversion, Simet dug up buried voodoo artifacts, and an astounding deliverance followed, greater than anything Hollywood could concoct. Now, ministry in village 81 is easy, because Greg, Bobbie and their team are known as "the missionaries that came in and were able to free the village from witchcraft". The most incredulous aspect of this testimony is that this was the first time Simet met Greg and Bobbie.
Dramatic spiritual warfare is only part of this couple's ministry. Physical needs must also be met. Two years ago, Church on the North Coast in Lorain, Ohio, partnered with The Potter's House Church of God (Columbus) to build Destiny's Village. This place of hope and encouragement is named after Greg and Bobbie's daughter, who will make her first missionary trip soon. Destiny's village is modeled on Jeremiah 29:11, where God's thoughts toward us are for giving peace, future and a hope. So far, two plots of land have been purchased, a missionary house and orphanage have been built, and a church and school are planned.
Halloween is only one night, but darkness grips Haiti all the time. In the land where people literally ask missionaries "What planet are you from?", the Gospel shines brightest. Greg and Bobbie Ball claim their success is simple. "Anyone who can share the Gospel anywhere can make a difference". They are doing just that, in Lorain and in Haiti, a country a world away.